Drive-by shooting was an attempt to 'wipe out the competition'

Blaine Pillay and his son came under attack from a gunman while they were seated in their vehicle, a BMW M4, on the R102 near the Southgate and Broadlands intersection

The vehicle in which Blaine Pillay was seated with his 10-year-old, when they came under attack.

Published Feb 25, 2024

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A turf war is believed to be behind the drive-by shooting to “wipe out the competition” – of a local businessman who owns five “flourishing” cannabis stores in Phoenix.

Blaine Pillay, 33, and his son,10, came under attack from a gunman, while they were seated in their vehicle, a BMW M4, on the R102 near the Southgate and Broadlands intersection last Monday.

The father of two, who was shot in the head and chest, had to be airlifted to hospital. His son was unharmed.

A close relative, who declined to be named for the fear of his life, said Pillay had picked up his son from school, and they were on their way to have a haircut before going to their home in Phoenix.

“We were told by witnesses that a man jumped out of a car, which was about two cars behind Blaines’. He ran up to Blaine's side and started shooting. He fired about five shots, then ran back to the waiting car, which made a U-turn onto the other side of the road and sped off.

“Blaine was hit twice - once in the head and chest. He is now fighting for his life in hospital, and all we can do is pray that he pulls through. It is a very hard time for the family, especially his sons. We are thankful to the bystanders, who kept his son with them until the police and family arrived. They never left his side and comforted him. But, his son is now very withdrawn, and keeps asking to see his father… Sadly, he can’t right now due to the critical condition Blaine is in.”

The relative said he believed the shooting was linked to “jealousy” over Pillay’s “successful and flourishing” cannabis business.

“Blaine had opened five cannabis shops in and around the Phoenix area. Over the past year, he had achieved success which we believe angered others, especially those that are trying to break into the industry. He is seen as a threat.

“We call on the police to investigate and ensure that the perpetrators are caught and punished. Why should people who work hard to build their lives for the well-being of their families be hurt?” he asked.

Police did not comment at the time of going to print.

According to a police source, the legal cannabis trade is booming, with over 30 shops in and around the Phoenix area.

“We are aware that there is rivalry in the industry, and the shootings, such as this case, are to wipe out competition. However, there are the illegal cannabis or ‘dagga’ sellers, that are now competing with the legal sellers, and losing business as people prefer to purchase from a shop without fear of being caught. This could also be a motivation behind such attacks.”

According to Statista, a leading provider of market and consumer data, the cannabis market in South Africa is expected to experience significant growth in the coming years.

The data reveals that South Africa's cannabis market is experiencing a surge in demand as the country embraces the potential of legalisation, and explores new business opportunities.

According to Statista’s projections, revenue in this market is estimated to reach over US$1million (about R19 million) in 2024.

“Overall, the cannabis market in South Africa shows promising growth prospects and presents lucrative opportunities for businesses operating within this industry.

“With the projected revenue figures and positive market outlook, it is clear that the cannabis market holds great potential for economic development and job creation in South Africa.”

According to the data, the market is expected to continue expanding at an annual growth rate of 13.21% from 2024 to 2028.

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